Special Issue "Mechanisms of Microbial Adaptation to Low pH"

A special issue of Genes (ISSN 2073-4425). This special issue belongs to the section "Microbial Genetics and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Daniela De Biase
Guest Editor
Department of Medico-Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies, Sapienza University of Rome, Latina, Italy
Interests: Escherichia coli; glutamate decarboxylase; amino acid-dependent acid resistance; GABA
Prof. Dr. Nuno Pereira Mira
Guest Editor
Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences; Instituto Superior Técnico, Department of Bioengineering; University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: yeasts genomics and physiology; antinfungal resistance in Candida spp; transcriptional regulatory networks
Dr. Peter A. Lund
Guest Editor
Institute of Microbiolgy and Infection, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
Interests: bacterial stress responses; acid stress; laboratory-based evolution; molecualr chaperones

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The adaptation of microorganisms to low pH has many important practical applications in a number of diverse sectors such as food and drink microbiology, industrial biotechnology and bio-processing, and clinical and veterinary treatment of infections, in a time of increasing antimicrobial resistance. The microorganisms under consideration include bacteria, yeasts, and other fungi. With this Special Issue, we aim to collect high-quality research articles describing the genomic, transcriptomic, sensing, and metabolic landscape of the microbial responses to low pH with a view to understanding their functional significance and bridging to potential applications gathered from the covered knowledge. We wish to cover all aspects of the molecular events from sensing to responding to low pH stress, and also to cover descriptions of genes in different organisms that may have specific functions at low pH. Adaptation is therefore meant both in terms of the short-term response, and also in the description of how evolution has enabled microorganisms to be resilient to acid stress. This is in line with the objectives of the COST Action “EuroMicropH” (https://euromicroph.eu), which is committed to aiding the understanding of the details of how model and non-model micro-organisms detect and respond to low pH.

Prof. Daniela De Biase
Dr. Peter A. Lund
Prof. Nuno Pereira Mira
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • microbial physiology
  • weak organic acids
  • acid stress responses
  • low pH sensing
  • omics approaches

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Extreme Low Cytosolic pH Is a Signal for Cell Survival in Acid Stressed Yeast
Genes 2020, 11(6), 656; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11060656 - 16 Jun 2020
Yeast biomass is recycled in the process of bioethanol production using treatment with dilute sulphuric acid to control the bacterial population. This treatment can lead to loss of cell viability, with consequences on the fermentation yield. Thus, the aim of this study was [...] Read more.
Yeast biomass is recycled in the process of bioethanol production using treatment with dilute sulphuric acid to control the bacterial population. This treatment can lead to loss of cell viability, with consequences on the fermentation yield. Thus, the aim of this study was to define the functional cellular responses to inorganic acid stress. Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains with mutation in several signalling pathways, as well as cells expressing pH-sensitive GFP derivative ratiometric pHluorin, were tested for cell survival and cytosolic pH (pHc) variation during exposure to low external pH (pHex). Mutants in calcium signalling and proton extrusion were transiently sensitive to low pHex, while the CWI slt2Δ mutant lost viability. Rescue of this mutant was observed when cells were exposed to extreme low pHex or glucose starvation and was dependent on the induced reduction of pHc. Therefore, a lowered pHc leads to a complete growth arrest, which protects the cells from lethal stress and keeps cells alive. Cytosolic pH is thus a signal that directs the growth stress-tolerance trade-off in yeast. A regulatory model was proposed to explain this mechanism, indicating the impairment of glucan synthesis as the primary cause of low pHex sensitivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Microbial Adaptation to Low pH)
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